The Teal Pumpkin Project: No Pressure Man, But, Like, It Would Be Cool If You Did

The Teal Pumpkin Project: No Pressure Man, But, Like, It Would Be Cool If You Did

On my 30th birthday I got to go see Louis C.K. perform live with about 20 of my best friends from college. It was pretty sweet. At the end of his act, he did his now infamous “Of course… But maybe” bit about kids with nut allergies. We all laughed. I laughed. I felt ashamed, but I still laughed. Fast forward two years and that no good bitch karma caught up with me — my daughter was diagnosed with a peanut allergy.

After that, I did a 180. I went from feeling like a complete ban on peanuts at schools was overkill, to being so thankful it exists. While my daughter is well aware of her allergy, and will avoid anything she knows contains peanuts or peanut butter, she could easily mistake a peanut butter cookie for a sugar cookie and end up in a very scary situation. I know it sucks for everyone else. I get it. But it helps me feel much more at ease when I drop her off every morning. So I’m grateful to those who follow the rule, even if they do it begrudgingly.

I really hate being one of those moms – the allergy mom.

I really hate being one of those moms — the allergy mom. I have to bring it up at birthday parties, play dates, and restaurants. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that one of the most painful things for me to do is ask for special treatment. I don’t like asking for help, special favors, or to be made an exception. I hate to haggle. Just tell me the price, and I’ll pay it, because that’s fair to everyone. I know, I’m a wimp. So when I have to jump in as someone is handing my daughter a treat, “That doesn’t have peanuts, does it?!” I do a full body cringe and recoil shamefully. “Sorry,” I think to myself. “I’m not trying to be a pain.” But I do it because I have to. It’s a better alternative to spending 20 minutes begging her to take some Benadryl as a rash spreads across her cheeks, or even worse, having to stab her with her EpiPen.

I feel this way partly because allergy moms get such a bad wrap. Most of us are normal people, but then there are people like this asshat:

Allergy FlyerYou’ve probably seen this flyer already as it’s making its way across social media today. I can’t think of a worse way to get people on your side than to chastise them for giving out candy most people like and can eat. We took Biscuit trick-or-treating last year, and yeah, she got a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers bars. But she also got plenty of Skittles, Starbursts, Hershey’s, and even a few small toys. When we got home, I said, “Ok, I need to go through your bag and remove all the best candy for my mommy stash stuff with peanuts in it.” You know what she said? “Yuck! I don’t like peanuts.” Devastated, she was not. She knows what peanuts do to her, so she’s totally cool with giving that stuff up. Whoever posted this flyer sounds like a narcissistic drama queen douche bag (pardon my French).


This year, I heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project, and thought, “Hey, that’s cool!” We’re participating this year, and here’s how I did it: Step 1, I went to Target (enter at your own risk) and I bought a bunch of candy. I also bought a couple bags from the peanut and gluten-free section (yes, Target sells assorted allergen-free bags of non-gross candy in a very prominent and well-labeled section). Finally, I grabbed a bag of assorted mini Play-Dohs for kids that just can’t have candy at all. I also bought a pumpkin and a bottle of teal acrylic paint. Step 2, I painted the pumpkin teal (which was fun!) and placed it on my doorstep so the allergy parents know they can get some allergen-free stuff at my house. Pretty simple.

If you can grab some allergen-free candy or toys, that would be totally boss.

So here’s what I’ll ask: If you can grab some allergen-free candy or toys, that would be totally boss. it’s an easy way to show kindness to someone who has been deprived of the glory that is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Paint a pumpkin teal so we know where to find you. Or don’t. Maybe you just don’t have the time because, shit, you got a life of your own. That’s cool; we’ll knock on your door anyway.

Insurance Boss: Succulents

Succulents have somehow become the new, hip plant to have. So to no one’s surprise, the local Girl Scouts are selling succulents at today’s Forth of July festival. After hearing the announcement over the loudspeaker, Insurance Boss immediately quipped,

“I don’t know… I feel bad getting a succulent from a Girl Scout.”

I swear, he can make a dirty joke out of anything.

Shitbarf: Our Hurricane Sandy Story


Today is October 22, and two years ago today New York was having a really shitty day. That really shitty day was just the beginning of several weeks of major shittiness – epic traffic jams caused by blocked bridges and tunnels, gas shortages, days and weeks without electricity, and damaged cars and homes. Our family was fortunate enough to make it through the storm safely and with very little damage to our property. But we had our struggles in the aftermath.

Starting on October 21, the Sunday before the storm, Insurance Boss worked every single day for over a month. He finally took a couple of days off at Thanksgiving, but we spent Thanksgiving day touring the badly damaged areas in Brooklyn, and delivering pies to adjusters who were sacrificing their holiday to help their customers. For two weeks we had one adjuster from Nebraska sleeping on an air mattress in Biscuit’s nursery because all the hotels were full. (Yes, I actually met a human being from “Nebraska”. He was bizarrely polite.) Insurance Boss had to borrow a friend’s car to get to work, not for the car itself, but for the gas in his tank. Halloween, my absolute favorite holiday of the year, was completely canceled.

But the worst part for us was returning from evacuation. We lived in “Zone A” which is the mandatory evacuation area. The day before the storm hit we packed up the Biscuit, who had just turned one year old, and our dog Bailey. We managed to snag a room at a hotel in the middle of Long Island, less than a mile from Insurance Boss’s office. — See, when there’s a disaster, Insurance Bosses especially gotta get to work. I call the adjusters “Second Responders”. After all, they are the next person you call after police and paramedics, and you want them to show up just as quickly.

I spent several days in a small hotel room with my one-year-old Biscuit and my insane rat doxie (that’s the mutt name for a rat terrier mixed with a dachshund). Both of my little beings were going absolutely bonkers from being cooped up in less than 350 square feet. I was still working as a consultant at the time, and I actually tried to get some work done, but that was more ridiculous a notion than expecting a brain surgeon to work with a coked up Axl Rose and a rabid ape running loose in the operating room. Our building manager wasn’t answering the phone, so after several days of scouring Twitter, I found reports that the water had receded from our neighborhood and our building had electricity. I determined with 85% certainty that it was safe for us to return home.

406945_10152241763940438_1417324387_nSo on Wednesday afternoon (Halloween) we started out drive home. With normal traffic it would have taken about an hour, but with most bridges and tunnels into the city still blocked, it was more like three, long, miserable hours of inching along the Queens Midtown Expressway. The last half of that was spent going just one fucking exit right before the Midtown tunnel. We had been in the car for about two hours when we noticed a lovely fecal scent coming from the backseat of the car. We figured Biscuit had baked a loaf in her diaper, but when Insurance Boss turned around he saw a single shitty Bailey turd lying on the backseat. He hopped out of the car (we were stopped anyway), grabbed some baby wipes, and, walking beside the car, cleaned up the singular offense as we inched along. After he got back in the front seat, we lamented Bailey’s lack of class and wondered why his movement was so small. Did we miss a turd? What happened to the rest of it? Did it roll under the front seat? Is there more coming?

Fast forward ten minutes. This time we heard the unmistakable, slurpy, gagging sounds that a dog makes right before he- Oh, shit. We quickly turned around to see the absolute horror of Bailey yacking up about thirty-two liquid ounces of SHITBARF all over the backseat. If you’re confused about what exactly happened, I’ll spell it out. The dog not only shat in the backseat, but then he ate it, and then he puked everywhere! Shitbarf was between the seats, under Biscuit’s carseat, on the seat belts – everywhere. So once again Insurance Boss heroically hopped out of the car and grabbed a roll of paper towels that happened to be in the trunk. He attempted to clean the mess while also keeping Bailey, the criminally disgusting pooch, from hopping out into the road.

Just imagine the scene: Insurance Boss is standing beside the car in the middle of four lanes of traffic. He’s leaning in the backseat, alternating between wiping, gagging, yelling, pushing the dog, and laughing hysterically, all the while having to pause periodically to run alongside the car as traffic creeps forward a whole ten feet. I was laughing so hard I could hardly see through my tears. People in the cars around us had literally nothing better to do than to stare, point, and laugh.

Hurricane Sandy sucked. And these are the memories we will cherish.

Insurance Boss: Oscar dela Who???

Me: Oscar de la Renta died.
IB: Who’s that?
Me: He’s a fashion designer.
IB: Oh. I thought he was a boxer.

I know that my husband is smart. He’s brilliant. He is, after all, the big insurance boss, and he’s earned that title. However, he has a tendency to get… mixed up. Fortunately it’s usually not regarding anything important.

Penis Awareness is Not a Gateway Drug

Today I saw an article that highlights some of the craziest things doctors have had to tell patients about their own bodies. I thought, “These are hilarious, but they cannot be real.” Ten minutes later I changed my mind when I saw another article. This one talks about how parents have their boxers in a bunch because a baby doll actually has male genitalia instead of that weird, nebulous, overextended taint most dolls have.

For anyone as clueless as the mother of two who didn’t know why she was bleeding every month, simply telling your daughter about penises will not get her pregnant, scar her for life, or jump start an otherwise completely unnatural early sexual awakening. She won’t contract a disease, suddenly become a brazen hussy, or start a career on the pole. She might, however, continue on with her life as usual, less interested in the no-longer-mysterious, dangling appendages in her classmates’ pants… At least until she hits puberty.

My only complaint is, “So where’s the baby doll with a vulva?”

Biscuit as Mommy


“I love you, Monkey. You’re my sweet girl.”

I overhead this when Biscuit was playing by herself, and talking to her little toy monkey. As a parent, you say a lot of things around your kid you don’t want them to repeat. They can grab on to something you said just one time, and repeat it two weeks later. (Like the other day when she told Insurance Boss from the back seat of the car, “You’re not paying attention!” Whoops.) You can also lose your patience with them somewhere around the fifth attempt at picking a pair of pajamas and say something you regret. When you hear something like this, it reassures you that they do know how much you love them.